CoR highlights the role of local and regional administrations in fight against discrimination

The fight against prejudice and hostile attitudes towards the Roma is at the heart of a draft Committee of the Regions (CoR) opinion proposing practical measures to improve the integration of the Roma population. Supporting the Commission's position on this matter, the EU's Assembly of Regional and Local Representatives calls on Member States, regions and local authorities to apply with vigour the fundamental rights enshrined in the European treaties and to combat all forms of discrimination directed against the Roma people.

The integration of the Roma people, who are estimated to number some 10 to 12 million, is the responsibility of the Member States and the EU institutions. However, the Committee of the Regions is concerned about the effectiveness of current policies, which suffer from lack of awareness about the Roma population among local authorities.

The Committee considers that the fight against discrimination also requires better awareness on the part of national, regional and local administrations in order to avoid action which is inappropriate or illegal. The draft opinion which is being prepared by the CoR, which shares common elements with the Commission's position over the situation of Roma people, highlights that the Union as a whole and the Member States have a shared responsibility towards the Roma people and that there is a need to put the values underpinning the Union into practice.

The proposals will be discussed in Brussels on 29 September in the presence the European Parliament rapporteur on the Roma issue.

As the CoR president, Mercedes Bresso pointed out the Roma community continue to be frequent victims of discrimination and social exclusion in European as well as other countries, which is a breach of the fundamental values of the European Union and human rights. Awareness of their shared responsibility should be raised among national, regional and local administrations.

To remedy the situation, the Committee rapporteur on the Roma issue proposes solutions at three levels:

  • At European level: the establishment of a strategy for the implementation of common policies in the various Member States, and access to European funds for projects undertaken by local authorities.
  • At national level: there is an urgent need for Member States to adopt legislation to render European anti-discrimination and pro-rights legislation effective and applicable.
  • At local and regional level: there is a need for territorially integrated regional policies and cooperation arrangements with the countries of origin of Roma migrants.